I never truly understood the statement “Charity begins at home” until I became an adult. Now, I know my post is going in a different direction, however, I do believe charity and being an activist are one in the same. Correct me if I’m wrong (I am sure someone has an opinion on this matter, go ahead), but read a little and maybe we can share a point of view that helps us all grow.
I am convinced I am not the first person to write on this topic and I know for sure I will not be the last, but bear with me as I present this to you.
We all have so much we are passionate about, we want our children, our family members and our friends to be healthy and active. We want to save the animals, sea creatures, the oceans and what little nature we have left. We fight for equality, we ask for people to respect our rights as humans. We demand access to quality education, health care and for our streets to be safer. We want clean drinking water, organic food, free range animals and GMO free. Some people believe being vegan / vegetarian is the right way, others believe we are omnivores. We have personal belief systems whether religious or not. We all have something we strongly believe in. And we all have the right to want these things. However, this is where it becomes complicated. This is where it truly begins at home.
Think about it, we want our children to be respectful of themselves, their family, their friends, their elders, their teachers and to strangers. We also want them to respect their environment and everything around them and yet as parents we forget to lead by example. We do not respect their feelings, we speak openly and with judgment of the people around us and we seldom realize our children are listening. We eat take away’s, crisps, chocolates and ready made meals and then we tell them they can’t eat a chocolate because dinner is on it’s way. We seldom follow through with our commitment to be more healthy, to exercise, to quit our bad habits and we expect them to be more than us? We do not pick up trash when we are walking in the streets (even though we tell our children to do this). We do not greet our neighbors or the teller at the shop and yet we expect to be greeted by every child that enters our home. How can we possibly expect our children to be better if we as their elders could not be bothered to do the same.
I AM NOT SAYING WE ARE ALL GUILTY OF ALL OF THIS, HONESTLY THOUGH HOW MUCH DO WE DO TO POSITIVELY INFLUENCE OUR CHILDREN?
Please do not misunderstand what I am about to say, I have a profound amount of respect for our “socialite icons” using their fame to rake in millions of dollars / euros / pounds (whatever currency appeals to you) to help save Africa, save the rain forests, save the oceans, save whatever is trending for that day. A lot of them actually do make a continuous and deep impact to this world, but we the not so famous people only get caught by them for a moment, and then we feel justified by the sharing of their social media post and we swiftly move along. I get it, I do, Hashtag’s start movements, those movements will trend for a few days, maybe even a month, but like any novel idea, it soon fades. It fades because we are so busy doing everything else, we forget that to be an activist, we have to practice it daily. And therein lies our biggest problem, we lack commitment and follow through.
So what can we as the everyday person do to be better. FIRST OFF practice what you preach. If you want a cleaner environment, clean your garden / patio, pick up trash in the streets, teach your children to respect and love their home (because it is theirs to), show your children how to pick food that is not wrapped in single use plastics, teach them to up-cycle and recycle. Make them aware of how precious water is, take them into parks where tree’s grow so that they may learn how to appreciate the sounds nature makes. Sit by the ocean and show them how to see into the waves, teach them about the creatures that live there and do this with all we as people should hold dear. Show them how to be gentle with animals, people and themselves, we are their first contact with the world and we are their first teachers.
We as adults are the ones that teach our children about the realities of life. If we want them to have a future that is not only bright and beautiful, but clean, safe and worth fighting for, we need to be the leaders we as adults are looking for and our children so desperately need.
We as adults, we as people have such a great opportunity here. There are a few people who do proactively do something wonderful everyday, small and big things that do change a piece of someones world in tremendous ways. Sadly a lot of the time this is documented on social media and not to set a trend but to bring personal praise. I am not pointing fingers, we are all guilty of this and at the same time, there are people who do this simply to help someone by pure kindness. Either way, we should stop using our good choices for a moments pleasure and start making our good choices and let them reflect in everything we do. Our children will thank us for it. The world will thank us for it.
I could list a thousand ways to be better, pick up the trash as you walk around, find a way to get away from single use plastics, help in clean up drives, donate money to environmental causes, share your knowledge, whether it be farming, cooking preserves, feeding the poor in your neighborhood, clothing drives, recycling, up-cycling, whatever it is you do, start at home, become the person you want your children look up to, be proactive, follow through with your commitments to this wonderful world we call home. Turn your home into a reflection of the environment you want your children to grow up in. Treat people with kindness, respect them for who they are and what they have to offer. Do something, something more than just sharing something on social media, something more than Hashtag trending, something more than thinking you are doing the world a service by spoiling your children and living a life that is filled with chaos. BE THE EVERY DAY ACTIVIST!
Photo Credit: Taken while we wandered around a reserve in the Netherlands
Theme Song: What a Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong